Microsoft Releases Java on VS Code Spring Boot App Dev Extension Pack

Microsoft has announced the availability of VS Code Spring Boot Application Development Extension Pack (aka Spring Tools 4 for Visual Studio Code). This collection of extensions for developing and deploying Spring Boot Applications is available now in the Visual Studio Code Marketplace.

Spring Boot is an open-source Java-based framework used for developing stand-alone, production-grade Spring-based applications, with a microservices focus. Spring Tools 4 is the next generation of Spring tooling for a range of coding environments, including Eclipse, Visual Studio Code, and the Theia IDE.

In the regular monthly (June 2022) update to Java on Visual Studio Code, the dev team announced enhanced Spring Boot functionality as part of a major "Spring Boot End-to-end Improvement" push announced in a 2022 roadmap post (the team also handles the preview Extension Pack for Java with more than 13.5 million installs).

At the time, the dev team said that it would be working with VMware (which acquired Spring publisher Pivotal in 2019) to improve both core Java extensions and Spring extensions in these areas:

  • Easier creation workflow of Spring projects, controllers, and beans
  • Better visualization of core Spring concepts (such as beans and API mappings)
  • Boilerplate code generation for Spring controllers and classes
  • Improved Spring application lifecycle management in Spring Boot dashboard
  • More intuitive experience to add Spring libraries when managing dependencies

The unique Spring Boot Dashboard extension provides an explorer in the side bar where developers can view all of a workspace's Spring Boot projects in one place, from which they can also quickly start, stop, or debug projects.

"Microsoft has been working with VMWare to polish out the experience on the visualization for Spring Boot dashboard," said Nick Zhu, senior program manager. "In the past, the dashboard has been mainly used to launch apps. However, we realized that was far from enough. As a Spring developer, we often deal with beans and REST API mappings. As a result, we decided to bring these two concepts into the Spring Boot dashboard extension and brought the extension into a separate view."

In addition to a clear overview of all the beans (special Java classes) and API mappings in a current Spring application, developers now enjoy features such as:

  • Navigation: Developers can click on a bean or API endpoint to navigate to either the class of the bean or the code where the API is defined.
  • Filtering: Developers can use the built-in VS Code filtering system to filter specific beans or API mappings.
  • Static vs Run-time Analysis: Another major feature is the ability to analyze run-time only information. Before an app runs the views for beans and API mapping only show static information. Now, Zhu said, "the way to start run-time analysis is to simply kick off your Spring application from the dashboard, when you see the beans and API mappings icons are green, that means all the information are now run-time only information. The beans that are displayed now will be run-time only."

The team also announced updates under these headings:

"Great to see these enhancements!" said one developer in the comments section of the announcement post. "Keep going! Especially love the remote container debugging features ... Game changer?"

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.